In the Malay language, 'ayam masak kunyit' translates to ‘chicken cooked with turmeric’. As there is a trend for recipes using turmeric, give this chicken recipe a try. This quick turmeric stir-fry dish is one of my favourites week night dinner recipe because it's simple to prepare. Besides, it goes really well with rice or any grains. While ayam masak kunyit is a typical home cooked dish, it has become increasingly popular and is now sold in food trucks around Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. One needs to wait in queue to get a pack of these golden chicken pieces with rice.
Now that we know it's easy to prepare, let's take a look at the substitutes for the ingredients and tips to make the best turmeric chicken stir-fry.
Fresh turmeric is the best option for this recipe. While it is a bit messy compared to using turmeric powder, fresh turmeric gives the golden pigment and earthy fragrance. It needs to be pounded until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Do use gloves to avoid staining your fingers. 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder may be substituted with ca. 2 tablespoons of fresh root.
Grill, air fry or bake chicken instead
This recipe requires the chicken pieces to be pan fried until crispy. For the health conscious, less oil may be used when grilling them. Otherwise, I'd recommend baking or air frying the chicken pieces instead.
Adding chillies to the dish may make it quite spicy. Do remove the membranes and seeds of the chillies to reduce the heat. It may also be substituted with capsicum.
Extra spice and heat
This dish is rather dry with almost no gravy. It is usually served with some sambal belacan. The spiciness of the sambal belacan may be reduced by adding some capsicum. While it is not typical to have capsicum in the pungent chilli sauce, the addition actually makes it sweeter.